Evil Dead (2013)

evildeadThis week for the second time in recent months I went to see another horror remake, something that without extenuating circumstances would never normally happen. However in the case of Maniac, which is reviewed here, and Evil Dead I felt I would have been stupid not to. I’m a big fan of the original Evil Dead and initially when I heard it was going to be re-made I greeted the news with my usual massive sigh when I hear of another Hollywood horror re-hash. However, in the build up to its release it managed to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. One of the biggest things that made me want to go watch it was that Sam Raimi, director of the original trilogy, was on board as a producer. On top of that I read that the film was mostly going to be taking an old-school approach to the special effects, opting for prosthetics rather than CG. So I caved eventually and when the time came round I actually got quite excited to go and see some proper gory horror at the cinema.

In terms of gore Evil Dead certainly does not disappoint. With torture porn nowadays being the biggest form of horror cinema it’s obviously a difficult challenge to give something the shock factor people have come to expect. With Evil Dead, though, they have got it perfectly right and correct, it’ll have you squeaming in your seat and flinching in disgust as the sheer level of blood and guts is so relentless that it easily sets itself apart from the pack that it could have fallen into. The fact that they held back on CG really works in favour of the gore too, it immediately makes everything more visceral and is done so well that it provides a great update from the low-budget shit Raimi must have had to use on the original. The tree rape scene however, is not done as well as the original and unfortunately that’s not the only negative about the film. The plot, largely similar to the original, is an incredibly generic one, one that only really works in the original because it’s taken with a pinch of salt, this remake, however, takes it’s plot incredibly seriously, so much so that I can’t even remember there being one joke. This is, ultimately, where the film holds it biggest flaw since the gor is so extreme it gets over-the-top so for dark sods like me it is actually quite funny but the way the plot is dealt with makes it feel like they don’t realise they’re own joke. They don’t realise quite how ridiculous this film is and therefore miss out on what it was that made this franchise great in the first place.

While I very much enjoyed the film and will almost certainly watch it again at some point, it made it impossible for me to love it as much as the original. It does just about manage to separate itself from the usual trashy Hollywood horror but lacks the humurous spark of it’s predecessors and suffers from taking its generic plot too sincerely. Still if you want some blood and guts this will always be a good shout.

 

I Saw the Devil

After watching the uplifting Almost Famous on Thursday night, last night was designated to watch something on the other side of the spectrum. Having seen some horrific clips of I Saw the Devil on YouTube we thought it would be a good, gruesome watch. What we got was something a lot better than we expected. A film that pushes violence and darkness to levels I don’t know if I’ve ever seen before on film, but around that violence and horror is actually a masterfully made revenge movie that gives the Vengeance trilogy a real run for its money.

The film starts how it means to go on. The brutal killing of a woman while she’s stranded in a broken down car, the killer takes her down to his basement where he dismembers her body. The victims husband is a detective and during the investigation he accidentally sees a forensics officer drop her severed head on the ground. As you might imagine, this was a tipping point. After seeing this, Kim Soo-hyeon sets off on a quest of revenge. After finding out who the killer is (Kyung-chul) he finds him, beats him to within an inch of life then puts a microphone down his throat, leaves him somewhere random and repeats the process again and again. The film questions morality as it goes on, always making you wander if any one deserves the kind of torture Kyung-chul receives but somewhere deep down there’s a part of you that thinks he does.

Clocking in at a whopping 2 hours 20 minutes there was always a risk of this film over-emphasising itself and perhaps thinking it was more important than it was. However, it does the complete opposite, the film actually turns out to be so much than just a torture porn endurance watch. The pacing is probably its greatest feature. In between the moments of almost unbearable gore we’re treated to some incredibly well-choreographed kung-fu scenes, a gripping plot line and some genuine felt emotion. In many ways the gruesome nature of the film makes it even more of a gripping film, it’s so gory but you just can’t look away and it’s produced in a much more visceral, gritty way than anything Hollywood has to offer off the back of Saw. Everything in this film is done with such precision and thought, all its parts add up to make a truly satisfying whole. It’s definitely not for everyone but next time you sit down to watch some gory shit, check this one out, I promise you won’t be disappointed.